Ev­ery­day glam­our

> Is­raeli fash­ion­ista’s fan­tasy footwear finds fa­mous fans

The Sun (Malaysia) - - FASHION -

IS­RAELI de­signer Kobi Levi’s psy­che­delic shoes re­sem­ble ev­ery­thing from banana skins to sex acts, flamin­gos and stretch­ing cats – and they are all the rage among well-heeled stars like Lady Gaga.

“My world is that of ev­ery­day glam­our, the glam­our that goes un­no­ticed, which I show in an ex­trav­a­gant and fun way,” the 41-year-old says.

Dressed in a t-shirt and black jeans, he works out of a mod­est stu­dio at his apart­ment in Is­rael’s com­mer­cial cap­i­tal Tel Aviv.

He uses a vin­tage sewing ma­chine and an old leather press to turn his de­signs from fan­tasies into shoes.

“I see some­one step­ping in chew­ing gum on the way to work and get­ting an­noyed about it,” he tells AFP. “So I make shoes with a high heel shaped like stuck chew­ing gum.”

The re­sult is a stylish blackand-white sneaker with an 11 -cen­time­tre (four-inch) pink drip­ping heel so re­al­is­tic it could be mis­taken for real gum.

The bizarre cre­ation, which sells for US$2,240 (RM9,408) a pair, caught the imag­i­na­tion of ac­tress Whoopi Gold­berg, who wore them when she ap­peared with US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama on talk show “The View” in 2012.

Amer­i­can singer Fergie wore a pair of the same shoes in the video for her song “M.I.L.F. $”.

GO­ING GAGA

The bulk of Levi’s or­ders come through his web­site but one, in 2011, changed the course of his ca­reer – pro­pel­ling his shoes onto the global pop scene.

“I got an email from a fash­ion de­sign stu­dio that deals with Lady Gaga. They wanted a pair of shoes for a video,” he says.

“I was su­per sur­prised be­cause at the time I had no stu­dio, just a small blog with pho­tos.

“I was mak­ing the shoes my size be­cause no­body wore them and show­ing them to friends and then putting them in boxes,” he says.

Gaga wore the shoes in the video for her 2011 hit sin­gle “Born This Way”.

Levi’s de­signs are made to mea­sure in very lim­ited batches – as few as 20 pairs. They oc­cupy, he says, the cross­roads be­tween “de­sign, art and fash­ion.”

It takes sev­eral months to cre­ate a new model, and sev­eral weeks to re­pro­duce each one. Once he receives around 20 or­ders, he moves on to another pro­ject.

The ef­fort has paid off, win­ning Levi high-pro­file fans.

Swedish stylist B. Ak­er­lund, who de­signs for the likes of Bey­once and Kim Kar­dashian, has put 13 of the Is­raeli’s de­signs in her show­room.

Gold­berg has been a keen ad­mirer for years, sport­ing a pair of his low heels shaped like a banana skin at the Paris pre­miere of the “Sis­ter Act” stage show in 2012.

The same year, Vogue Italia de­scribed Levi as “a ge­nius, un­usual, true cre­ative tal­ent, the cap­tor of sur­round­ing re­al­ity, of un­pre­dictable ob­jects, of an­i­mal ap­pear­ances”.

MADONNA NEXT?

Among his many cre­ations are shoes shaped like play­ground slides, stretch­ing cats and even a de­sign with a minia­ture harp in the heel.

“Ev­ery­thing starts with a fan­tasy, then it be­comes a chal­lenge,” he says.

“You have to find tech­ni­cal so­lu­tions. I go through phases where I think I’m crazy, that it’s im­pos­si­ble, then I’m afraid that in a sec­ond ev­ery­thing could tear or break.”

“Then sud­denly it starts to look like the orig­i­nal sketches and then I get the heady feel­ing of hav­ing given life to a fan­tasy.”

Levi stressed his cre­ations – which sell for be­tween US$800 and US$3,000 (RM3,360 – RM12,600) – are de­signed to be worn, not sim­ply for dis­play.

Levi also plays on the sex ap­peal of heels, earn­ing him an avalanche of fan mail from women, he says.

He has al­luded to sex in his work with the flesh-coloured “Blow” shoe shaped like a doll whose tip re­sem­bles a red mouth.

He now hopes another glam­ourous and provoca­tive star will fall for his cre­ative mad­ness.

“Madonna” is his pair of gold stilet­tos with a fake mi­cro­phone and blond wig, and he has high hopes for the shoes.

“It would be great to see Madonna wear­ing them her­self,” he says. – AFP Re­laxnews

Is­raeli shoe de­signer Kobi Levi.

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